Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je, speaking at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok today drew laughter from reporters when he said “Hong Kong is boring.”
Ko responded to questions from reporters after a statement from a Thai tourism industry leader during a lunch meeting, who said that considering Taiwan’s recently implemented visa-waiver program for Thai visitors, and with increased publicity, the number of Thai visitors to Taiwan could surpass that of Hong Kong.
Thai visitor numbers to Hong Kong last year surpassed 500,000, while Taipei only received 190,000.
The hapless mayor responded to the media in a doorstop interview in his well-known bluntly honest manner: “Hong Kong is boring… a small island…what’s good to see?” Ko laughed along with the mainly Taiwan-based reporters and continued, “I’ve been there, I know…”
A Taipei Government spokesperson tried to douse the flames by saying the mayor just meant that Taipei has high mountains, hot springs, great food, cultural creativity, cultural history, and visa-free travel for Thais, so tourist numbers from Thailand should be able to surpass that of Hong Kong.
Mayor Ko is on a tour of South-east Asian nations promoting Taipei as a tourist destination. He has already visited Indonesia and Malaysia. Tomorrow he will be in India.